Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Less-Than-Perfect Weddings

Wedding unity candleWeddings have been on my mind a bit lately.  I have not one, but two cousins who will be getting married this summer.  Also, one of my co-workers is getting married, while another will celebrate her first wedding anniversary (in Rome!  Can you believe it?), while yet another is going to be attending a friend's wedding with her boyfriend.  On top of all that, my wife is getting ready to officiate her first wedding as a priest this weekend.  I've heard it said that these things seem to happen in waves, and that's certainly true in my life right now.

A while back, I observed just how different wedding services can be, but one thing that seems to be true among most couples is the desire to have the wedding ceremony turn out well.  This is understandable enough.  Getting married is one of the most important events of a person's life, and for better or for worse (sorry, I couldn't resist!), it's an event that the married couple will be looking back on for the rest of their lives.  We want those memories to be happy ones.

That's not to say that every couple insists on "perfection" for the ceremony.  There are certainly some who do, but not only isn't such an attitude necessary, but I'm not even sure it's healthy.  Life is messy, and events that bring large groups of family and friends together often bring out that messiness.  Insisting on "perfection" may actually be to set one's self up for disappointment.

Ironically, the things that go wrong can actually provide some of the memories that one learns to cherish in later years.  When my parents got married, for example, their multi-tiered wedding cake actually collapsed before the reception!  This meant that the rest of the family had to scramble to salvage enough of the cake to have a (much shorter!) cake available for my parents when the time to cut it at the reception finally came.  While I feel confident in saying that no one wanted that to happen, and I don't even mean to say that they wouldn't "fix" things if they had the ability to go back in time and do so, this has become one of the stories that my family tells when they talk about my parents' wedding, and everyone joins together in laughing about it now.

By all means, planning ahead is important.  But if something does go awry, it's worth remembering that these kinds of things happen at weddings all the time, and the marriage afterwards tends not to suffer as a result of such misfortunes.  A marriage succeeds or fails on the basis of the planning and work that goes into the relationship itself.  The ceremony is, by comparison, just a minor detail.

So, to my family and friends involved in weddings this summer, I say "enjoy the time!  Don't sweat the small stuff!"

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